Determining Non-Personnel Resource Needs for Your Project

By Stanley E. Portny

In addition to personnel, your project may require a variety of other important resources (such as furniture, fixtures, equipment, raw materials, and information). Plan for these non-personnel resources the same way you plan to meet your personnel requirements. As part of your plan, develop the following:

  • A non-personnel resources matrix
  • Non-personnel usage charts
  • A non-personnel summary usage chart

A non-personnel resources matrix such as the one you see below displays the following information for every lowest-level component (or work package) in your project work breakdown structure, or WBS:

  • The non-personnel resources needed to perform the activities that comprise the work package. (For example, this image shows that you need computers, copiers, and use of a test laboratory to complete the three listed work packages.)
non-personnel resources matrix
An illustration of a non-personnel resources matrix.
  • The required amount of each resource. (For example, the image above suggests that you need 40 hours of computer time and 32 hours of the test laboratory to create a device. The shaded computer usage numbers by week in the image below.)
non-personnel usage chart
An example of a non-personnel usage chart for computer use.

To estimate the amount of each resource you need, examine the nature of the task and the capacity of the resource. For example, determine the amount of copier time you need to reproduce a report by doing the following:

  1. Estimate the number of report copies.
  2. Estimate the number of pages per copy.
  3. Specify the copier capacity in pages per unit of time.
  4. Multiply the first two numbers and divide the result by the third number to determine the amount of copier time needed to reproduce your reports.

Ensuring that non-personnel resources are available when needed requires that you specify the times that you plan to use them. You can display this information in separate usage charts for each resource. Above, the image illustrates a computer usage chart that depicts the amount of computer time each task requires during each week of your project.

For example, the chart indicates that Task 1.2.1 requires six hours of computer time in week 1, four hours in week 2, six hours in week 3, and eight hours in each of weeks 4 and 5. You’d prepare similar charts for required copier time and use of the test lab.

Finally, you display the total amount of each non-personnel resource you require during each week of your project in a non-personnel summary usage chart. The information in this chart is taken from the weekly totals in the individual usage charts for each non-personnel resource.

non-personnel summary usage chart
An example of a non-personnel summary usage chart.